Sunderland Global media have obtained a council planning document (found in the public domain) published in 2017, which details every single site in the south of the city which is being looked at for prospective housing developments, including the former Pallion Shipyard, the status of which has attracted considerable controversy.
Titled: “Sunderland South Site Assessments” the PDF details over 100 locations throughout every ward south of the river and assesses them for their availability for building housing on. Some of the sites covered have since been developed.
In assessing the former Pallion Shipyard (p.65), the report stated that it could host up to 47 houses and concluded it was “suitable” although “mitigation” would be required due to potential flooding risks. However, it noted the site was not yet available and therefore no plans could be made for it at this time.
Despite this, the document also admitted that “the site also forms a key part of the River Wear wildlife Corridor” and there was “local archaeological significance relating to shipbuilding and historic riverside village”.
The report also noted that “ELR recommends that the site could be deallocated for employment uses” although the council received criticism for seemingly showing little interest in this area.
But this is no guarantee there are no plans. A further examination on the report however found whether the council deemed a site “unsuitable” or too expensive has not necessarily mirrored the council’s actions towards given sites.
For example, under the Pallion Shipyard the document discusses the availability of the North Moor field site. Although the report renders it as “unsuitable” due to costs, in practice the council are moving ahead with plans to build houses on the site anyway. What the report recommends and what authorities have done are not in harmony.
In this case, whilst the report’s details shows the site in a state of limbo, critics will now argue it shows significant evidence that in the council’s housing building spree across Sunderland, which the file sets out in extensive detail, that the Pallion Shipyard site is being eyed up anyway.